West Lothian

‘Mark Two’ New Town – Designated 16 April 1962

With the redevelopment of Glasgow predicted to be so advanced by 1965 as to require 1,000 houses per year more than could be accommodated in the existing three Scottish New Towns and ‘overspill areas’, Livingston was designated in 1962 to provide a new focus for industrial activity in Scotland’s central belt and to link the industrial west with centres of expansion in the Forth basin, while revitalising a coal- and shale-mining area through modern industry. Having survived successive national and local economic downturns, Livingston has emerged as a major commercial, social and cultural focus within an area that has benefited greatly from substantial inward economic investment. It now forms the administrative centre of West Lothian and is the primary retail centre for the area and a key location for employment.

Key facts:

  • Location: 25 kilometres west of Edinburgh, 50 kilometres east of Glasgow, served by two railway stations to the north and south of the town.
  • 2011 Census population: 50,296, in 22,537 households.
  • Local authority: West Lothian Council.
  • Local Plan status: West Lothian Local Development Plan (adopted September 2018).

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 16 April 1962.
  • Designated area: 2,708 hectares.
  • Intended population: 70,000 (population at designation: 2,000).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to accommodate planned ‘overspill’ from Glasgow and regenerate its surrounding sub-region by attracting new, rising industries. The masterplan had six principles: create a place of distinctive character; conserve and create good landscape; build to high standards of residential and industrial layout; secure a diverse and balanced population; develop without a requirement for self-containment (the first New Town to have a plan for 80 square miles around its boundary); and control the motor vehicle to allow pedestrian insulation. Development Corporation wound up 31 December 1996.

Figures taken from Livingston ‘5 minute’ fact sheet – TCPA New Towns and Garden Cities, Lessons for Tomorrow research, available here.

Council website:

Local museums and archives:

West Lothian Council Archives:

Livingston at 50:

Photo Credit: M J Richardson